A MORE COMPLETE EXPLANATION...
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, there is a sharp
between Gd on one hand, and human beings on the other. First of all,
there is always a reprimand against any human being who claims to be
Gd, or Divine, as we read in Ezekiel 28:2:
Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith
the Etrnl Gd;
Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am Gd, I sit in
the seat of Gd, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not
Gd, though thou set thine heart as the heart of Gd. [Ezekiel 28:2]
Then there is the verse from Hosea in which Gd
specifically tells us that Gd is not a human being:
I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I
will not return
to destroy Ephraim: for I am Gd and not a man; the Holy One in the
midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. [Hosea 11:9]
In Numbers 23:19, Gd specifically tells us that if Gd
were a human
being, then He would be a liar, as all human beings do lie on occasion.
Furthermore, this verse tells us that if Gd were a human being, He
would be in need of repentance because all human beings sin at some
point in their lives. Finally, this verse also tells us that if Gd were
a human being, then He would make promises, but not keep them:
Gd is not a man that he should lie; neither the Son
of Man that he
should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken,
and shall he not make it good? [Numbers 23:19]
Gd is the same, Gd does not lie, and Gd is Gd and Human
Human Beings, and Gd does not become a Human Being, and Human Beings do
not become Gd.
There are three Jewish Holy Days that express this idea,
dramatically in the well-known Jewish holiday of Passover. Let's
examine it first.
Passover is the celebration of the Exodus of the Jews
slavery in Egypt. Gd brought the Jews out of slavery by performing
miracles, which were in the form of plagues. These plagues were not
against the Egyptians, as most people think. They were actually against
the gods of the Egyptians, as we are explicitly told in Exodus:
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night,
and will smite
all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against
all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Etrnl.
The Egyptians worshipped the Nile -- but Moses, on
behalf of Gd, struck
the Nile and it bled. The Egyptians worshipped the sun-god, Ra -- but
one of the plagues of Gd was darkness for three days. The plagues of
the locusts and the hail which destroyed the crops were against the
Egyptian gods of the harvest. The tenth and final plague was against
the first-born sons, who had or would become the priests of these
Egyptian gods. Remember that Pharaoh was held to be a god by the
Egyptians. That is why the text in Exodus 11:5 tells us that the plague
of the death of the firstborn went all the way to the throne of
And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die,
firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the
firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the
firstborn of beasts. [Exodus 11:5]
The holiday of Passover has a way of saying, 'Sorry,
Pharaoh, you are not Gd!'
The next holiday we will look at is Chanukah. Antiochus
of Syria wanted
to unify his empire by making all of the inhabitants of his empire into
Hellenists, followers of Zeus. But the Jews refused to assimilate, of
course, because they believed in only One Gd. Antiochus saw this as
insurrection, and began persecuting the Jews. He called himself
Antiochus Epiphanes, which means, 'Antiochus who is Gd manifested.'
Through commemorating the Maccabee rebellion, the holiday of Chanukah
is a way of saying, 'Sorry, Antiochus, you are not Gd!'
Finally, let us look at Purim, the holiday that
events of the Book of Esther. In this story, there is a character named
Haman (boo! hiss!). He hated the Jews because the Jewish hero,
Mordechai, would not bow down to him. The holiday of Purim has a way of
saying, 'Sorry, Haman (boo! hiss!), you are not Gd!'
Each of these three holidays has, as part of its theme,
the idea that
Gd is Gd, humans are humans, and Gd does not become a human, and humans
do not become Gd.
Perhaps this idea of confusing Gd and man also explains
belief in the Virgin Birth -- the joining of Gd and the human woman
Mary, who supposedly became pregnant without the sex act in some
mysterious way not related to reality as we know it. Numerous gods and
heroes in the ancient world were the product of a human mother and a
god for a father. As we have noted elsewhere
in this website, Heracles' mother was the human woman Alcmene and his
father was Zeus. Dionysus' human mother was Semele and his father was
Zeus. Perseus' human mother was Danae and his father was Zeus. As a
matter of fact, Zeus made Danae pregnant without the sex act, and
therefore her pregnancy was a form of immaculate conception.
This confusion, the mixing of man with gods, was common
in the ancient pagan world.
But in the Hebrew Bible, all of the Jewish greats -- the
Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca,
Rachel and Leah; Joseph, Moses, King David, etc. -- are never portrayed
as being divine or free of sin; they are shown as fully human, with all
the passions and flaws of human beings. They are all born in the
natural, non-miracle way, and all die, returning to the dust, just as
all humans do.
Basic to the faith of the Bible and of the Jewish
People is the
distinction between Gd and man, a distinction which is contradicted in
mainstream Christianity by the belief that Jesus was the literal son of
Gd, or even Gd Himself.